That time you were too drunk to fight back when your friends insist you take a cab instead of walk. Also proof drinking does make you dumber. 🙂
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Alex is our resident Webcomic creator. He grew up in Puerto Rico, but didn’t reach true Nerdom until he came state side when he was in middle school. He’s been drawing since he was five, but has only started posting Webcomics in the past year. You can check out his amazing and original work at tapastic.com/gomezalexj.
‘Dragon Con 2015 Wrap Up’ is part of a multi-post series where the writers of Some Nerd Girl share their convention stories – whether they be good, bad, or ugly!
I remember my first Dragon Con. It was 2007, and I was deep in the throes of Battlestar Galactica (BSG) fandom. My friend Corrine had told me about an online BSG fan group that I ended up joining, and about how Dragon Con is a magical place full of all of the things I loved: gaming, sci-fi, fantasy, comics, just to name a few.
I bought a pass, threw together one of my first ever costumes (BSG BDUs, of course) and trekked down to Atlanta.
Boy, was my friend right. I was enthralled by all of the people, the costumes, and the culture that is Dragon Con. What drew me in was the content, the celebrities, and being able to dress up as the characters I’d come to love in all of my favorite genres. What ended up happening, however, is that I gained an immense group of friends as well.
Dragon Con is now the best geek family reunion I could ever hope for, and I count the days every year until all of us can converge upon downtown Atlanta and share all the revelry together. It’s become a staple of my year, not just because I get to have all the things I love in one place, but so many of the people I love in one place as well. I have heard and been a part of so many stories of friendships, engagements, and marriages beginning at Dragon Con, and I’m willing to bet you have too. I still love seeing the celebrities, getting my comics signed, and marching in or watching the parade—but what Dragon Con really means to me now is “family.”
If you’re reading this, then you know that the Post-Con Depression struggle is real. I don’t want to go back to the Muggle world! So instead, let’s talk about all things Dragon Con in this breakdown of some of the ups, the downs, and the in betweens.
The Carpet. Oh, Marriott. You put down fresh carpet for us? How kind of you! It smelled so new on Tuesday.
The Weather. There was a bit of normal Atlanta heat, but during several photoshoots I was at or viewed on the Hilton steps, it actually got breezy! This was a huge relief when I was wearing my Fallout wasteland gear on Sunday. It actually meant that walking outside if I needed to wasn’t as sweltering and awful as it normally is in Atlanta.
Registration. This year, like last, was an absolute breeze. Kudos to Dragon Con for making this process pretty darn painless.
Key Cards at three of the hotels! How cool is it that this was a triptych? This should happen every year. (Here’s a neat trick: the first and last cards also go together so you can put them in a different order)
The Guests. It’s obviously clear how much I love Battlestar Galactica, so having Grace Park join the majority of the cast here for con, knowing she rarely ever comes to conventions, was amazing. There were so many other shows I was excited to see represented—Lost Girl, Arrow, Sleepy Hollow, Defiance, and even Karen Gillan from Dr. Who and Guardians of the Galaxy fame showed up. Great pulls, Dragon Con.
I was also excited for Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction to be there. Comics have come back into my life in a big way, and these two people are heavily responsible for this. There were a lot of great voice actors and puppeteers (hello Caroll Spinney, a.k.a. Big Bird!) I’ll admit, I also nerded out over John Noble (Fringe, Sleepy Hollow), who took my hand, looked right into my eyes, and talked to me like I was the most important person in the room. What a lovely man. Meeting these people are icing on the cake here.
The Parties. You know what I’m talking about. Room parties and other scheduled events of these types are a blast. If you weren’t at one of these, you were likely at the Rave!
The Music Guests. With us, as always, are the goth fairy friendly Cruxshadows, and steampunk favorites Abney Park, but this year Ego Likeness, Here Come the Mummies and Rasputina joined us for some epic rocking. The Doubleclicks (who I had just seen at GenCon) also brought their fun and smart nerd folk. The Mummies made people lose their collective minds with their Funk power, and Rasputina brought edgy cellos into the mix (though sadly, there were major monitor issues during their set, making me concerned they won’t want to come back). I didn’t get to see Ego Likeness this year due to over commitment, but their dark industrial sound is always sure to scratch that itch in your little black soul (Spoiler alert: They’re actually also super nice people!).
The Photoshoots/Costumes. Of course. As always. Man. Just seeing some of the photos coming out of these shoots is part of my Post-Con Depression therapy. There are too many to name, but this is the best way to see a great grouping of some of the best costumes you’ll see. I always go through flickr and just do a search for “dragoncon” in the tags for a great show. (WARNING: Browse at your own risk, some of these may be NSFW!) Then there are crazy mashups that happen without explanation, like Warboy Minion:
Low Points. 😦
The Carpet: Oh, Marriott. Some of these areas looked like, well, like congoers were already in certain spots here.
Congestion. Every year this con gets bigger. Though all reports from my fellow con-goers agree that traffic flow seemed better, there were so many people there, it definitely got a big swampy. Speaking of…
The Marriott Temperature. Anyone else think the management decided to make it too hot to hang out? Even with the obvious large number of 98.6s in the atrium, I don’t remember it being that bad before. The Marriott is usually THE place to be, and this year, I actually found more relief in the Hyatt and Hilton and found myself wanting to stay there instead.
Overflowing Panel Lines and Lack of Organization. I gave up trying to see John Barrowman and Stephen Amell over the weekend. Both panels were lined up for hours (which I get it–if you want to wait in line, that’s part of con, right?) and I was turned away after the “end” of one of the lines was going into the room, being told they weren’t letting anyone else in at all. Later, a friend reported she walked into the same panel 15 minutes after it had started with no problem whatsoever. Here’s the thing—I can’t imagine how hard it is to run these cons. I just know how frustrating it was to not be able to get correct answers from staff on seating.
Panel Choices on DCTV: This year I had a few friends with disabilities and also with young children attend. They weren’t always able to get to the panels and through the crowds (or with an infant, didn’t want to chance a crying fit in a panel) and we chatted about how some of the best panels (like the dual Barrowman/Amell Arrow panel) wasn’t even broadcast on Dragon Con TV that we could find, but some groups were broadcast more than once.There were also technical difficulties which seem an inevitability.
This year we saw the addition of DCTV Land, which was a cool idea, but I think many of us would rather have two full channels of panels instead of “classic DCTV” bumpers and shows. I appreciate the content, and don’t want to insult the fine people who put all the fun videos together (I truly do enjoy them), but it seems like these could be broadcast after panels end for the day (I mean, most of us are up all night), and for the 30 minutes between panels, in my opinion.
Baddie McBadderson Time
The Carpet. Oh, Marriott. I’m sorry. We just can’t guarantee not to spill…well, something on your floors. I’m so glad you have a great cleaning crew, and all the Scotchgard.
Assault? When I got back, I heard of a case of sexual assault that happened at con, which is deeply disturbing (and still under investigation). There’s a reason cosplay is not consent, no means no, and being drunk and incoherent means no, too. There’s a whole can of worms that we could open over this, but I’ll just say please, con-goers, don’t be evil. A lot of people get crazy at con, but there is never, ever an excuse for assault. End of story.
I know I’ve missed a few things that you lovely readers can bring out—after all, none of us can possibly see everything at Dragon Con. So what were your highs and lows? What else would you have liked to have done?
Melody is a Southern Girl living in the Midwest with her equally nerdy husband, Asuka the dog, and Bastet the cat, who only answers to “kee kee kee!” She currently is loving Dragon Age Inquisition (because she’s behind, GOSH) and Sense8. Fandoms include (but are not remotely limited to) Dr. Who, BSG, Supernatural, and Star Trek AND Wars!. She’s Commander Shepard, and this is her favorite blog on the citadel!
‘Con Job’ is part of a multi-post series where the writers of Some Nerd Girl share their convention stories – whether they be good, bad, or ugly!
Monster Mania is a horror convention in New Jersey that introduced me in to the world of conventions – in a less than conventional way. My first con experience was as a model in an attempt to recruit extras for an independent zombie flick that never actually happened. Back in 2006, cosplay wasn’t quite the culture it is today, so seeing zombies wandering abut in 50s garb was a pretty unique treat. A startling number of people wanted pictures of being bitten.
The next year, our friends were working on getting a production and prop replica business off the ground. While my friends were running around as Sexy Evil Ash and Zombie Wolverine and Spider-Man, I opted to keep to the booth running and sell the various replicas and curios we had brought with us. Pirate Aztec Gold, a bust of Leatherface, even a replica of the possessed phone from Nightmare on Elm Street were all yours for a price.
The Ghoul School had actually done a great job making these props – which were promptly sold and then autographed by people who had been in the movie. By Sunday, I was tired and Sexy Evil Ash (aka Peaches) was tired of running around. We’d hardly spent any time together that weekend, so when our “boss” announced he was going to take over the booth so we could actually enjoy the convention, we were delighted. We told him we were going to go over and check out the table with the guys from The Devil’s Rejects – Sid Haig and Bill Moseley. “Yea, well, go give ‘em backrubs and have fun,” he joked.
Peaches and I looked at each other, mulled over the thought, and, for some reason, concluded; “Yea, let’s totally do that!”
And so we did. First, we went to Bill Mosely. Because the guy who plays Otis Firefly is probably not terrifying at all, right? And he wasn’t. Actually, he was wearing a kimono-style silk robe.
How could we do this? We decided to go with Rule #1 of How To Do Things You Are Probably Not Allowed To Do – act legit. We grabbed a few of our friends’ flyers and headed towards the signing rooms. Admittedly, our execution was not perfect. It started with a hesitant and stumbled suggestion, complete with nervous head-scratching and foot shuffling. “We’re… uh… we’re with one of the vendors? We wanted to, y’know, offer the signers, a, uh… a back rub? To say thanks for coming.”
Bill Moseley shrugged and said “Cool, let’s do it.”
At first there was a totally panicked, wide-eyed moment of amazement. Did that just happen? Did he, this totally famous and terrifying monster, agree to a back rub? In a silk robe? In a second, Peaches was behind the table and going to town on his shoulders. There were a few attempts at chitchat, and the occasional person came up for an autograph and Peaches would duck out of the way. After a few minutes, Peaches announced she was done and that we appreciated meeting him. He held out a $20 bill and offered it to her. Blushing, she said she couldn’t accept it, we were doing it for free!
But she’d love if he gave her a signature, if that was ok?
Bill promptly picked up his sharpie, signed the $20, and handed it to her.
After that, we fled to the smoking area outside. Giddily puffing and smoking away the nervousness, we recapped the whole thing, looked at the pictures I had snapped, and completely geeked out. Once the nerves went away, we paused.
Could… could we do it again?
If one person was totally cool with it… would the others be as well?
Turns out, celebrities *love* back rubs. While waiting in line to talk to Sid Haig, I stared at an adjacent table. There, beside a very polite and bored assistant, was the one person I’d wanted to meet all week. Could I do this? I sidled up beside the assistant and slipped her a flyer. “We’re with the Ghoul School Production table. We’re offering back rubs to the signers? I didn’t want to interrupt…” I trailed off, looking at the line of eager folks waiting for autographs. The assistant assured me that she’d pass the flyer along.
A moment later I heard the most amazing, smoky, intrigued voice of Jason Mewes say, “Really? Where is she?”
In a flash, I was looking at Jay Mothaf*cking Mewes, explaining the free awesomeness we were providing. A moment later, I was touching one of my gods, and he liked it. By this point, Peaches was attacking the massive stature of Sid Haig, who was practically asleep at her touch, and we were gleefully snapping pictures of each other whenever we had to step aside so a fan could get a picture. Finally, I knew I had to be the best-best friend a gal could have, and help out my homie.
So I say, “Listen, Jay, I give good back rubs. But Peaches over there? She’s an artist.” Jason happily agreed to have her come show him her skills. By the time she was done, he was basically a puddle on the floor.
What was really interesting was the way different celebrities reacted. Many offered us free autographed pictures – even a few whom we had offered back rubs to but declined. Some acted as if us offering back rubs was the very height of rudeness. I even gave a back rub to a production manager, who had been feeling a little left out at the attention of the celebrity whom he had accompanied. It was a story for the ages – two college kids pretending to know what the hell they were doing when really it was all almost a total scam and a way to meet celebrities without having to wait in line.
The absolute best result of our mostly-unauthorized solicitations, however, was the one day at a comic convention 2 years later.
Peaches was wandering about, again in her Sexy Evil Ash costume, when out of nowhere a voice cries out, gravelly but urgent, “PEACHES!” Confused, she looked around for the originator of the ruckus. And there he was, was Jason Mewes, frantically waving at her. “I NEED A BACK RUB!”
Barbie O’Havoc has been considered a nerd since the first time she pissed someone off for having a weird opinion. Since then, she’s been spending her time indulging in the surprisingly expensive habits of reading trashy vampire novels and hitting people while playing roller derby. Both of her main hobbies have led to a love of terrible puns, much to everyone’s dismay.
Barbie O’ also loves coffee and local restaurants, and occasionally rambles about both on the Johnstown Food Blog.